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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Zurich is the most appealing city to Google users in Switzerland, Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash
Zurich is the most appealing city to Google users in Switzerland, Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash

Swiss president: “We can’t withhold freedoms from vaccinated people”

Referring to the 2G rule expected to be implemented in Switzerland this week, Guy Parmelin conceded the measure “is very drastic for anyone who has not been vaccinated”. That’s because they will be banned from all public indoor venues like bars restaurants, gyms, etc.

However, the restriction is necessary as “we cannot deprive those who have been vaccinated of their freedoms. They have done everything to protect themselves and others and to slow down the pandemic”, the president said in an interview with SonntagsZeitung.

READ MORE: 2G or closures: Switzerland presents new Covid measures plan

The new Swiss train timetable is on the right track

New Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) schedule went off without a hitch on Sunday. Both national and international connections are running smoothly and on time, the company said.

They include the new Nightjet service from Zurich to Amsterdam via Basel. Passengers can now also  travel for the first time without changing trains from Zurich, Zug and Ticino to Parma and Bologna in Italy.

With the new timetable, the journey time of three of the six connections between Zurich and Munich is also reduced by around 30 minutes to three and a half hours.

Where in Switzerland is the risk of avalanche the highest?

The snow that covered Switzerland extensively on Friday heightened the risk of avalanches in the Alps, according to the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF).

The cantons of Valais, Vaud, Bern, Obwalden, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen are particularly affected right now. In the other regions of the Alps and in the Jura, the risk of avalanches is slightly lower but it exists nevertheless, SLF said, skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts should be careful and not wander off-piste.

A new five-cent stamp is available for purchase

From 2022 a B Mail letter will cost 90 instead of 85 cents. This is why Swiss Post has to print new five-cent postage stamps.

They can be ordered starting today on the Post’s online shop and will be sent out by December 27th.

From December 20th they will also be available at the post office counter. The A and B Post stamps are currently also being printed with the new tariffs.

Which of their cities do Swiss like the most?

This answer comes — as everything does nowadays — from Google, whose analysis of searches reveals the cities that the Swiss found most likeable in 2021.

The top-10 are Zurich in the first place, followed by Geneva, Basel, Bern, Lausanne, Winterthur, St. Gallen, Thun (BE), Aubonne (VD), and Aarau (AG).

It is interesting that Aarau is among the most appealing places in Switzerland, given that another survey of this kind carried out in 2019, showed that “almost nobody in Switzerland” likes Aarau.

 Respondents in that study said the town, located in the northern part of the country, lacks cultural opportunities. They also give it a low rating because they don’t like the Aarau dialect.

Which of the two surveys is more believable? Ask Google.

READ MORE: What is Switzerland’s loudest city – and how loud is it?

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Fewer train connections in Switzerland, cheaper housing in Zurich and the rest of the news roundup on Thursday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Coming soon: more affordable housing in Zurich

Rents are notoriously high in Switzerland’s largest city, but some relief is on the way.

Municipal authorities have successfully negotiated a barter deal with Welti-Furrer real estate company to offer a number of reasonably priced apartments in the Altstetten neighbourhood.

While the amount the flats are renting for was not published, Blick reports that the negotiations yielded “974 square metres of affordable living space to be rented out during 25 years”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How inflation is increasing housing costs in Switzerland

Swiss Federal Railways want to eliminate some train connections

In its draft timetable for 2023, the company (SBB ) proposes to reduce the number of trains circulating between some Swiss cities.

For instance, SBB is planning to do away with the trains departing from Bern at 7:10 am and 4:10 pm, and the departures from Zurich at 6:49 am.

Two morning connections on the Lucerne-Zurich route are also to be eliminated, along with come off-peak-hour trains in other parts on Switzerland.

However, the draft timetable for 2023 also provides for an expansion for the leisure traffic on weekends, including between Geneva and Chur.

New direct connections are also planned on the Romanshorn-Interlaken route. This means that the tourist destinations in the Bernese Oberland will be better linked to eastern Switzerland and the Zurich area.

Swissmedic to Moderna: It’s too early for second boosters

After Paul Burton, chief medical officer of the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, announced in the Swiss media this week that vaccines will have to be administered “year after year”, Switzerland’s drug regulatory body responded that second boosters are not yet planned in the country.

Swissmedic said that neither Moderna nor other vaccine manufacturers have submitted an authorisation request for a second booster in Switzerland.

In order for the process to get off the ground,the Federal Vaccinations Commission (FVC) will also have to issue a recommendation for the booster dose before it is given to all age groups.

For people over 65 or with chronic illnesses, this will likely be possible in the fall, according to FVC head. Christoph Berger.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

Switzerland wants to speed up the purchase of American fighter jets

Although the decision to buy 36 US-made F-35A planes remains controversial, the Federal Council decided to accelerate the purchase.

With a number of other countries buying these fighter jets as well, the government is concerned there could be delivery delays. “In order for Switzerland to be able to protect its population from air threats beyond 2030, it must receive its first F-35As as early as 2027”, the Federal Council said in a press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, the offer is valid only until March 31st, 2023, but “the deterioration of the security situation prompts the Federal Council to want to fill the gaps in military capabilities quicker than expected”.
 
No specific date is given but it will be before the March deadline, authorities said.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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